Published May 21, 2017
Good morning! First, I would like to offer a warm welcome to the parents and family members joining us!
As we honor our graduates today, we also honor your support and guidance, which have helped our students reach this great milestone.
Most of all, we are here to celebrate you, the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Class of 2017!
Reaching this milestone is a great personal achievement. But your graduation is deeply meaningful in a public sense as well.
As a UB graduate, what you have learned and discovered here—and what you will do with this knowledge—has tremendous significance for the communities that you are part of.
These communities begin with your circle of family and friends and extend to your neighborhood, your nation, and the global community.
These aren’t separate spheres—they are closely connected.
You are graduating into a world where the local and the global, the personal and the public, increasingly intersect.
What happens in the arena of world affairs affects us on a daily basis.
The challenges we face personally, and as a society, have no borders—from medical and public health threats to economic, educational, and social inequities, to environmental concerns impacting the future of our planet.
These problems are multi-faceted and complex—spanning the globe and cutting across a wide range of disciplines, fields, institutions, and communities.
So now, more than ever, we need ideas, solutions, innovations, and collaborations that transcend borders of all kinds—geographic, cultural, disciplinary, and ideological.
We need globally minded citizens who are ready to come together to tackle these challenges.
We need thoughtful, knowledgeable leaders who bring both proven experience and an open mind to the forefront.
We need pioneering problem-solvers who reach beyond their immediate frame of reference to embrace and learn from many different points of view.
That’s where you come in!
Your UB education has prepared you for exactly this kind of engaged global leadership.
It has prepared you to engage with, and empathize with, others—to recognize our shared humanity and common concerns despite cultural and geographic differences.
It has emphasized the importance of building bridges across borders to solve challenges that transcend borders.
UB, as a large, internationalized university whose members come from all over the world, mirrors the complexity of the world around us through our ideological and cultural diversity.
And as a core element of our mission as a public research university, we are committed to ensuring that our ideas and discoveries make the world around us a better place—from our local neighborhoods to our global community.
As citizens, you are perhaps the most powerful embodiment of our university’s mission.
As UB students, you have already begun responding to global challenges, working directly with faculty and scholars who are leading the conversation in and beyond their fields.
You have contributed to solutions and discoveries that change how the world approaches threats to public health, social justice, and the environment.
You and your fellow UB graduates have already had a powerful global impact.
You have demonstrated this by exploring nature at the microscopic level, designing social media campaigns for non-profit agencies, and working alongside faculty on innovative research in chemistry and physics.
Now, as UB graduates, you are part of a longstanding UB tradition—joining a global network of 250,000 alumni in nearly 150 countries around the world, all dedicated to using their UB education to make a difference in the world.
The challenges you will be called on to address reflect universal concerns facing humanity in every community around the globe.
And the communities you are part of—here and beyond—will surely be richer for your contributions and insights.
Class of 2017, we can’t wait to see how you will use your UB education to make a difference in the world.
Congratulations on your great achievement, and all best wishes on the road ahead!